Eckhart Tolle & The Ten Paradoxes

Posted on: November 7th, 2014 by The Mindfulness Movie

Origins of The Mindfulness Movie are Rooted in The Ten Paradoxes

Stillness Speaks

Eckhart Tolle has a brilliant way of deciphering ancient wisdom and teaching and reformulating the information into clear and understandable everyday language.  He makes valuable aphorisms accessible. I recently read Tolle’s Silence Speaks and discover that some of his aphorisms perfectly described and paired with the Ten Paradoxes outlined in my book,Where’s My Zen?.

I love the simplicity of his explanations and wanted to share them with you. It’s some great Sunday morning reading! See below to read the entire explanation in Tolle’s words of each paradox.

Paradox 1:  Act. React. But Never Try.

“Become at ease with the state of “not knowing.” This takes you beyond mind because the mind is always trying to conclude and interpret. It is afraid of not knowing. So, when you can be at ease with not knowing, you have already gone beyond the mind. A deeper knowing that is non-conceptual then arises out of that state.

“Sometimes surrender means giving up trying to understand and becoming comfortable with not knowing.”

Paradox 2:  Act. React. But Always in Play.

“The playfulness and joy of a dog, its unconditional love and readiness to celebrate life at any moment often contrast sharply with the inner state of the dog’s owner–depressed, anxious, burdened by problems, lost in thought, not present in the only place and only time there is: Here and Now. One wonders: living with this person, how does the dog manage to remain so sane, so joyous?”

“By knowing yourself as the awareness in which phenomenal existence happens, you become free of dependency on phenomena and free of self seeking in situations, places, and conditions. In other words, what happens or doesn’t happen is not that important anymore. Things lose their heaviness, their seriousness. A playfulness comes into your life. You recognize this world as a cosmic dance, the dance of form. No more and no less.”

Paradox 3:  Seek mind with no thought.

“When you fully accept that you don’t know, you give up struggling to find answers with the limited thinking mind, and that is when a greater intelligence can operate through you. And even thought can then benefit from that, since the greater intelligence can flow into it and inspire it.”

Paradox 4:  With thought, intention. With intention, karma.

“All the misery on the planet arises due to a personalized sense of me or us. That covers up the essence of who you are. When you are unaware of that inner essence, in the end, you always create misery [KARMA]. It’s as simple as that. When you don’t know who you are, you create a mind-made self as a substitute for your beautiful, divine being and cling to that fearful and needy self. Protecting and enhancing that false sense of self then becomes your primary motivating force [INTENTION].

“And so you forget your rootedness in Being, your divine reality, and lose yourself in the world. Confusion, anger, depression, violence, and conflict [created by KARMA] arise when humans forget who they are…Yet how easy it is to remember the truth and thus return home:

“I am not my thoughts, emotions, sense perceptions, and experiences. I am not the content of my life. I am Life. I am the space in which all things happen. I am consciousness. I am the Now. I Am [NO INTENTION, NO KARMA; IF THE ME IS BEHIND AN ACTION IT PRODUCES KARMA, IF THERE IS NO ME (SELFLESS), THERE IS NO KARMA.].”

Paradox 5:  Perform. Do. But never think.

“You may have overlooked that brief periods in which you are ‘conscious without thought’ are already occurring naturally and spontaneously in your life. You may be engaged in some manual activity, or walking across the room, or waiting at the airline counter, and be so completely present that the usual mental static of thought subsides and is replaced by an aware presence.

“The truth is that it is the most significant thing that can happen to you. It is the beginning of a shift from thinking to aware presence.”

Paradox 6:  When mind is as a mirror, everything is revealed.

“When you look upon another human being and feel great love towards them, or when you contemplate beauty in nature and something within you responds deeply to it, close your eyes for a moment and feel the essence of that love or that beauty within you, inseparable from who you are, your true nature. The outer form is a temporary reflection of what you are within, in your essence. That is why love and beauty can never leave you, although all outer forms will.”

Paradox 7:  With thought, no flow. Without thought, flow.

“Unhappiness needs a mind-made me with a story, the conceptual identity. It needs time, past and future. When you remove time from your unhappiness, what is it that remains? The “suchness” of this moment remains.  It may be a feeling of heaviness of heaviness, agitation, tightness, anger or even nausea. That is not unhappiness and it is not a personal problem.

“There is nothing personal in human pain. It is simply an intense pressure or an intense energy you feel somewhere in the body. By giving it attention, the feeling doesn’t turn into thinking and thus activate the unhappy me. See what happens when you just allow a feeling to be.

“Much suffering, much unhappiness arises when you take each thought that comes into your head for the truth. Situations don’t make you unhappy. They may cause you physical pain, but they don’t make you unhappy. Your thoughts make you unhappy. Your interpretations, the stories you tell yourself make you unhappy. ‘The thoughts I’m thinking right now make me unhappy’ This realization breaks you unconscious identification with those thoughts.”

Paradox 8:  With attachment, work. Without attachment, play.

“Even if your grievances are completely “justified,” you have constructed an identity for yourself that is much like a prison whose bars are made of thought forms. See what you are doing to yourself, or rather what your mind is doing to you. Feel the emotional attachment you have to your victim story and become aware of the compulsion to think or talk about it. Be there as the witnessing presence of your inner state. You don’t have to do anything. With the awareness comes transformation and freedom.”

“The ego needs to be in conflict with something or someone. That explains why you are looking for peace and joy and love but cannot tolerate them for very long. You say you want happiness but are addicted to your unhappiness. “

Paradox 9:  Think. Think not. There is no thinker.

“The truth is you are not somebody who is aware of the tree, the thought, feeling or experience. You are the awareness or consciousness in and by which those things appear. As you go about your life, can you be aware of yourself as the awareness in which the entire content of your life unfolds?

“So you cannot become an object to yourself. That is the very reason the illusion of egoic identity arose because mentally you made yourself into an object. “That’s me,” you say, and then you begin to have a relationship with yourself and tell others and yourself your story…thought and language create an apparent duality and a separate person where there is none.”

Paradox 10:  Un-train the mind, be empty. When empty, you are full.

“Whenever any kind of deep loss occurs in your life–such as loss of possessions, your home, a close relationship; or loss of your reputation, job, or physical abilities–something inside you dies. You feel diminished in your sense of who you are. There may also be a certain disorientation. “Without this…who am I?”

“When a form that you had unconsciously identified with as part of yourself leaves you or dissolves, that can be extremely painful. It leaves a hole, so to speak, in the fabric of your existence.

“When this happens, don’t deny or ignore the pain or the sadness that you feel. Accept that it is there. Beware of your mind’s tendency to construct a story around that loss in which you are assigned the role of victim. Fear, anger, resentment, or self-pity are the emotions that go with that role. Then become aware of what lies behind those emotions as well as behind the mind-made story: that hole, that empty space. Can you face and accept that strange sense of emptiness? If you do, you may find that it is no longer a fearful place. You may be surprised to find peace emanating from it.

Whenever death occurs, whenever a life form dissolves, God, the formless and unmanifested, shines through the opening left by the dissolving form. That is why the most sacred thing in life is death. That is why the peace of God can come to you through the contemplation and acceptance of death.”